210.70(A)(1) Lighting Outlets Required. Habitable Rooms.

Wall switch controlled lighting outlets are now required in dwelling unit kitchens.
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Wall switch controlled lighting outlets are now required in dwelling unit kitchens.

Code Change Summary: Additional text requires a wall switch-controlled lighting outlet in the kitchen.

Section 210.70(A)(1) provides rules on dwelling unit lighting outlets and where they are required. The 2014 NEC required lighting outlets to be located in every “habitable” room and bathroom.

Defining what is considered “habitable” is beyond the scope of the NEC but the International Building Code defines a “Habitable Space” as “a space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces”.

In the 2017 NEC, the word “kitchen” was added to 210.70(A)(1). This aligns with the definition of a “habitable space” located in other code books. The NEC defines a “Kitchen” as “an area with a sink and permanent provisions for food preparation and cooking”.

Now, at least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet is required in every habitable room, kitchen, and bathroom.

The following two exceptions were unchanged:

Exception No. 1: In other than kitchens and bathrooms, one or more receptacles controlled by a wall switch are permitted instead of lighting outlets.

Exception No. 2: Lighting outlets are permitted to be controlled by occupancy sensors that are (1) in addition to wall switches or (2) located at a customary wall switch location and equipped with a manual override that allows the sensor to function as a wall switch.

Below is a preview of Article 210. See the actual NEC text at NFPA.ORG for the complete code section. Once there, click on their link to free access to the 2017 NEC edition of NFPA 70.

2014 Code Language:

210.70(A)(1) Habitable Rooms. At least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room and bathroom.

2017 Code Language:

210.70(A)(1) Habitable Rooms. At least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room, kitchen, and bathroom.

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210.70(A)(1) Lighting Outlets Required. Habitable Rooms.

Below is a Real Sample Question from our Electrical Continuing Education Courses for Electrical License Renewal:

Which of the following is required in a dwelling unit kitchen?

A: Lighting circuits in a kitchen must be rated 20 amps.
B: At least 3 small appliance branch circuits.
C: A switched receptacle.
D: A wall switch controlled lighting outlet.
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